Early Monday afternoon, Blue Jays PR director Jay Stenhouse (friend of the blog) emceed the ceremony, and introduced Roy Halladay, who had just signed a one-day contract, as "the newest Blue Jay," just before announcing his retirement.
Halladay thanked the Blue Jays organization--front office, coaches, and players-- to thank them for turning his career around. He said that he had a great, fun time in Toronto but called the postseason experience with the Phillies "the icing on the cake." He remarked about the great people in both cities. Sitting in front of Halladay were four caps representing the Blue Jays, the Phillies, and the caps of his two kids' baseball teams. Halladay mentioned that his next career step is to coach his sons. Halladay got emotional when he thanked his parents and "the front row," referring to his wife and kids.
Talking about the reason of his retirement, Roy Halladay mentioned that his shoulder feels fine, but he was battling back issues for the past couple of seasons (which included a fracture and ruptured disk), which prevented him from pitching his best. His doctors have told him that taking pressure off of it would make him be able to stay active. Halladay and his family decided against surgery, so that he can improve his quality of life and to spend more time in his family. Over the last two years, he had tried everything possible to overcome his problems, so he has no regrets about stepping away from the game at this point.
Halladay ended his speech by saying, "it was a tremendous experience--something that I will never forget."
- Halladay will miss going out to face challenges every fifth day, but said that he would not miss the strenuous workouts. "There will be parts I'll miss, but there will be no regrets."
- On the the playoffs, Halladay said that it was one of the greatest baseball memories, "from the camaraderie, to the atmosphere, to play in the playoffs."
- He said that a team could be the best team on paper, but "when the squirrel runs across home plate when your team's trying to pitch, there's nothing you can do."
- On not winning the World Series: "I'm more comfortable knowing that I fell a little bit short, than to have never gotten the shot."
- Halladay decided to retire with the Blue Jays because of how the organization helped him in the early 2000s, "had I never had those chances, I would never have been able to play with the Phillies."
- He mentioned that his career changed after being sent down to A-ball, realizing that what he needed to do was to go out and actually give everything he possibly could. He realized "just how quickly everything can be taken away."
- Halladay mentioned that he loved completing games because he wanted to decide the game, and that he found being at the ends of the games when the stakes were highest was the most fun.
- Halladay was very glad to have come up around Pat Hentgen, saying that he taught him a lot on the bench, including not flicking sunflower seeds. Also came up to a team with Chris Carpenter and Roger Clemens. Also thanked Harvey Dorfman for working on his mental skills.
Even though the Blue Jays had a Halladay uniform on the stage, he never put it on during the presser. Oh well, seeing it was enough for me. I wait patiently for Roy Halla-Day at the Rogers Centre next season.